Council-owned developer plans Frenchay homes

January 25 2021

What the new homes at Malmains Drive could look like. Picture: AHR Architects

What the new homes at Malmains Drive could look like.  Picture: AHR Architects

A HOUSING development in Frenchay will be one of the first in the area built by a council-owned developer if it goes ahead.
The land at Malmains Drive is owned by South Gloucestershire Council and was previously set aside to be the site of the new Frenchay Primary School, which is now set to be built on part of the former Frenchay Hospital site instead.
It is one of six council-owned pieces of land earmarked for housing projects, which also include a site at Vinney Green, between Mangotsfield and Emersons Green.
But the proposal for 30 homes on land east of Malmains Drive, 11 of which will be for social housing, has been objected to by 36 people, with just two public comments in support.
The site would be developed by Aequus Developments Ltd, a housing developer wholly owned by neighbouring Bath & North East Somerset Council.
If successful it would provide the template for a housing delivery partnership with Aequus and housing associations to develop council-owned sites, which South Gloucestershire is considering instead of setting up its own housing company.
Council cabinet member for corporate resources Ben Burton, who is a Frenchay & Downend ward councillor, said the proposed development illustrated why he believes the joint venture approach to housing is the “right way to proceed”.
He told a cabinet meeting in December: “Thirty-five per cent of those properties are going to be affordable housing.
“Air handling units for heating have been proposed, and EV (electric vehicle) charging points have also been included in those plans.”
Cllr Burton said a joint venture approach provided "an opportunity for the council as a whole to actually deliver better quality housing, the type of housing our residents want to live in".
It will also give the council the chance to share in the profits of development, which could be used to provide more housing.
But residents objecting to the plans say the site is too small to accommodate 30 new homes and that not enough parking is included for the new homes, which could lead to increased on-street parking in Malmains Drive.
Objections have also been made on the grounds of increased traffic, loss of open space and flood risk.
Winterbourne Parish Council, which covers the area, has not objected but raised concerns over "excess parking" on main roads and extra traffic on Malmains Drive, which councillors said was "already used as a rat run, even more so since the Hambrook lights have been changed".
The application is currently awaiting a decision on planning permission.